Like pretty much every other person in the world, I have struggled over the tragic event that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary this past Friday. I watched the news in horror throughout the day as details (some right, some wrong) were released, and cried when it became apparent that so many innocent children lost their lives.
While I have been out of the classroom for 5 years now, I will always be a teacher. I taught Kindergarden and First Grade for 7 1/2 years, and this senseless tragedy hit way too close to home. All I have been able to think about are the sweet children (even the ones who weren't my favorite) and what it would have been like had I been in that situation. I picture each classroom I was in, and how few spaces there really were to hide a group of 20 children, much less keeping them quiet and still.
My heart just absolutely breaks for those families, the children who lost their friends, the staff at that school and the community that will never, ever be the same. There will be many discussions about why and how it happened, and I know we might never get the answers we want so badly. In my humble opinion though, schools are no place for guns. Teachers are there to teach, and having an "armed" Principal would not have prevented this from happening. The level of training and practice needed to effectively stop an attack like this is a ridiculous request to make of someone who should be leading a school and supporting the teachers.
The attacker had some serious issues, obviously. And from the news that I have read, his dad bought his way out of his marriage and responsibility for his son. The mother was tight lipped about her son's struggles, and it has not been made apparent that he was receiving any type of help for his mental problems. Until our society stops judging others who have, (or the people who care for them), serious mental illness, then we will not be able to make the changes that need to be made. Should he have had access to assault rifles? Absolutely not. I think it was irresponsible for his mother to have them in the house. Did she have a right to have a gun for protection? Absolutely. It's a conversation we need to address, but it's not one that will fix all the issues at hand.
In the end, it's nothing but a tragedy, and hopefully one that will not have happened in vain. Let's have the tough conversations, let's help the people who need to be helped. But most importantly, let's just be nice to one another. Like 9/11 prompted many to join the service, this event has made me think about my career, and what I'm doing with my life. The draw to teaching has pulled even harder these past few days as I wonder how much of a difference I'm making with my life.
The opening number on The Voice last night was such a beautiful tribute to those who died too soon, and I thought I would share it in case you missed it.